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Florida may mandate cash at spring-training ballparks

Grapefruit LeagueAfter MLB teams have spent years converting spring-training ballparks to cashless venues, the state of Florida is considering legislation that would mandate them to accept cash as well.

Granted, a cashless facility is not popular with many fans, especially for older fans who still rely on cash and aren’t comfortable with debit and credit cards. But for a facility that does a lot of business in a short amount of time with a limited staff, going cashless does make a lot of sense–and it’s a practice that’s been documented to keep lines moving faster, as it eliminates the need to count out cash and provide change. (It also prevents light-fingered employees from walking away from a shift a few dollars richer.) COVID-19 was a huge impetus to implementing cashless venues, but the trend was already beginning before the pandemic.

But legal tender is legal tender, and the Florida Legislature–in a bipartisan way–is considering a bill that would penalize businesses from refusing cash payments. It’s being proposed by some legislators as a way to support lower-income patrons who rely on cash to pay bills, and it’s being championed by conservatives who see credit and debit cards as a tool for big business to track your every move. From the Orlando Sentinel:

“Everyone, regardless of their financial status or their background, deserves to take part in our economy,” [State Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat] said. “We have to understand that there are also people who are not able to participate in the economy if we are saying now that cash is not accepted. Where does that leave people who don’t have a credit card?

“In a time when many businesses have transitioned to electronic-only means of payment, we can’t forget those individuals and families who do not have access to electronic payment and rely on cash,” he said.

When cash isn’t accepted, Rudman said, “you are basically disenfranchising or cutting off entire communities.”

The legislation has already passed a Senate committee.


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